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Boeke | Books > Resensies | Reviews > English

Evita’s BlackBessie: One Part Organiser, Two Parts Personal


Matthew McDonald - 2011-09-08

Title: Evita’s BlackBessie | Evita se BlackBessie.
Author: Evita Bezuidenhout
Publisher: Umuzi
ISBN: 9781415201596
Price: R180.00

Click here to buy a copy from Kalahari.net.



The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It’s like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.” (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray).

How far we’ve come. Is it now a truth universally acknowledged that a (wo)man in possession of a large fortune must also be in want of a smart phone? The appearance of Evita se BlackBessie certainly suggests this is so.

When she’s not on stage, it appears South Africa’s “most famous white woman” (her words) is also trying to corner the market on lifestyle-accessorising your bookshelf. Her previous opus, Evita se Kossie Sikelela, was a resounding success, and this year the Grande Dame of Darling follows that culinary page turner with her own take on the personal organiser, Evita se BlackBessie, published by Umuzi earlier this year in both English and Afrikaans editions.

Her theory is simple: people trust too much of their lives to too many small, blinking gadgets – BlackBerrys for some, iPhones for others, and on the other end of all of them sit the bloody agents of the technological revolution listening in for all your secrets. The same holds for the internet, opines The Divine Mev E: Facebook is for berating the grandkids, Twitter for reshaping the English language, and YouTube for those nights when there’s simply nothing at the DVD store.

What the modern person needs, she continues, is a private, easily accessible space to jot down the thoughts, lists, reflections and questions that clutter the mind, a place that Bill Gates cannot hack, and Steve Jobs cannot read, and Mr Video cannot molest with horrible track lighting – voilà the good old-fashioned notebook.

So, that’s what you get: a beautifully bound edition full of the thoughts and reflections of Mrs Mzanzi Most Fabulous herself, with plenty of additional pages in between left blank for your own musings. Handily, the blank pages are arranged in sections encompassing such diverse real-life scenarios as “Remembering”, “Happy/Mad”, “Twitter-Taal” and “Emergencies”, to name just some of the many that there are.

Each of these sections is book-ended by reflections and anecdotes from Evita herself – and most magically (to me), the entire edition is peppered with wonderful, campy photographs of the once HE Ambassador Bezuidenhout in her different walks of life – entertainer, diplomat, mother, grandmother and thorn in the Nat government’s side. The whole thing is just soaked in the humour and irreverence that have made Tannie Evita the national treasure she is.

Part Filofax, part nostalgia trip (“Thorn in my side, my sister Bambi, but reconciliation must start at home!”) and part ZA and the Art of Modern South African Lifestyle Maintenance, I foresee three places this latest Bezuidenhout creation will land: for the Evita-philes this will be a must-have addition to her growing canon; for the Evita-phobes it is just another glossy, pricey, but largely empty gift book propped up near the cash registers in Exclusives; and for those of us who love Tannie E, but still shudder a little at the thought of writing in a proper hard-bound book (ag nee, sies!), it’s an intriguing slice of South-Africana, whether you decide to fill it with your shopping lists or not.

Evita’s BlackBessie and Evita se BlackBessie are available at all good book outlets.

LitNet het een kopie van Evita se BlackBessie om weg te gee, met komplimente van Umuzi. Stuur ’n e-pos met jou naam en posadres aan wen@litnet.co.za vir ’n kans om die boek los te slaan. Merk jou e-pos duidelik met “BlackBessie” in die titel.